HTML, CSS, or Python? Whichever coding language you are learning and no matter what your skills are, having a quality work environment can not only speed up your work but also improve its quality, what leads to a much higher satisfaction. In the end, while it’s true that you can learn HTML with nothing more than Notepad, there is no better way to practice your skills than to actually create and deploy or edit live projects.
By working directly on the server, you can check how what you create behaves for an average visitor. And, in the end, that’s what you are learning for – to improve your own, your employers’ or your clients’ websites and applications. So, which server to choose and why?
Getting Started – Shared, VPS or Dedicated
When picking a server, you will have the option to choose between a shared hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server), and a dedicated server. Unless you already own a couple of websites, we can remove the last option from our list right away – it’s way too expensive for your needs right now.
This leaves us with a VPS and a shared hosting package. If you were to look solely at the price, choosing the latter would seem like a no-brainer. But, I’m a strong proponent of choosing a VPS – even if you’re just starting out.
The truth is, if you choose an unmanaged one, the cost will be equal or even lower than that of a shared hosting. And that’s not the only benefit of a VPS – here are 7 reasons why it can help you:
- Complete Freedom to Play Around
First and foremost, you can do whatever you want with your server. You are not restricted to using just the OS, control panel or applications that are pre-installed by the server owner. And, as a future web developer or online entrepreneur, it’s good to understand at least the foundations of an environment where all your websites are stored.
Plus, being able to experiment will boost your creativity and teach your new skills, which can be useful in your future work. And speaking of experimenting…
- Comfortable & Fast Testing Environment
Compared to a shared hosting, a virtual private server gives you more resources for the same price. Moreover, you have an exclusive access to them – which means that no traffic surges of other server users can affect your websites.
On top of that, most quality VPS packages come with SSDs, which are many times faster compared to standard HDDs, what increases the comfort of work. Not to mention that if your project is online, you can test it with a variety of devices – mobile phones, tablets, and other PCs – without moving the files between them.
- Access to a Variety of Different Applications
Every shared hosting package comes with a limited number of applications that you can choose from and install (all “unlimited” packages are, in reality, capped – usually much sooner than you would expect). At the same time, a virtual private server gives you almost unlimited possibilities in this regard. It all depends on the tier that you choose (which will determine available resources) and the control panel, as well as the OS that you deploy.
In fact, the best VPS solutions, on top offering you SSDs and an exclusive access to resources, provide you with a choice between the most popular Operating Systems such as CentOS, Ubuntu, Scientific, Debian or Fedora. Working with them and understanding the environment is another great skill which you can learn on your journey to becoming a top web developer.
- Professional Support and Quick Help
On top of giving you access to all the resources, many VPS providers will eagerly guide you in setting up and managing the VPS. Of course, if you choose an unmanaged VPS (recommended) you will have to do the majority of work yourself.
But, that doesn’t mean that you are left alone – top companies ensure that their support team helps even those customers who choose unmanaged plans. Such a help can not only speed up your work and help you overcome problems but may also provide you with valuable insight and teach you a few interesting lessons.
- Collaborations with Others Who Can Test Your Projects in Production
Even though it’s possible to use a local machine to test how the website or application you are working on looks like, it’s not easy to share it with other people who might be interested in taking a look, helping you test it or providing you with feedback. This aspect alone makes it worth investing a few bucks a month – just image how much you could learn from others!
It’s worth keeping in mind that our friends or colleagues might provide us with valuable feedback absolutely free – and some of their ideas might turn a good project into a fantastic one that will kick-start your business or career. Plus, don’t forget that having a VPS makes it much easier to share your ideas with potential customers or employers.
- Ability to Scale Your Project Live or Scale the Environment in an Instant
Another important aspect of working on a VPS is that you can make your project live and available to the wide public in just a few clicks. No migrating, changing URLs, digging in the code, re-uploading of graphics and images or retesting everything once again. Depending on how big your project is, it can save you hours of precious time which you can use to work on another project, polish your skills or, simply, relax.
And, should you need more resources for your existing or future projects, you can scale your server within minutes. Just contact your hosting company and tell them that you would like to move to the next tier. The same works the other way around. Let’s say that you have just finished a big and demanding project for a client – downgrading your environment will be just as simple and fast. Speaking of clients, we come to probably the most important reasons of all.
- Impress Your Future Employer or Clients
Knowing CSS and HTML is a great foundation. But, that’s far from enough in today’s marketplace. The more you know and the more independent you are, the more valuable you become for your potential boss or clients. By setting up, managing, and experimenting with a Virtual Private Server, you can learn skills that will set you apart from other web developers, allowing you to work with better clients and charge a lot more for your work.
Because of all that, it’s worth looking at your VPS not just as a tool but as an investment. Especially that, considering how inexpensive quality unmanaged VPS packages are, it can pay you back hundreds of times and teach you skills that are not easily easy to acquire. And the best is, you’ll get all of it while working on your favorite web development projects.